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Angry Guard Dog

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You ain't getting that ball back anytime soon.
"Smithers, release the hounds."

Going into your neighbor's yard is a death wish. The milkman, the mailman, even the Kid Hero who lost his Frisbee disc doesn't want to go in there, because the Cranky Neighbor or the Retired Monster has an Angry Guard Dog to prevent anyone from foiling his Evil Plan.

Most of the bigger breeds of dog have been used for security jobs, especially Dobermans, Rottweilers, and German Shepherds. You also have different types of dogs that are supposed to guard whatever, such as a watchdog (who is simply required to bark, so even Mister Muffykins would do), a guard dog (who merely has to look imposing, like a Mastiff) and an attack dog (who has to be athletic and very trainable). Your stereotypical Angry Guard Dog, on the other hand, is all three. It looks intimidating, and if you enter its territory it will bark, but only on the way to mauling you. This dog's bite is every bit as bad as its bark.

And since dogs are dangerous predators that will crush your bones, thus they are a perfect pet for a Card-Carrying Villain.

Ironically, few Angry Guard Dogs are pitbulls. This has less to do with emulating realism and dodging current stereotypes than with indicating the old age of this trope. Bull terriers were highly regarded during the World War II era, and considering current media trends, no one wants to really highlight them in an opinionated way. And strangely enough, while bulldogs tend to be used in media for this trope, they tend to be one of the worst suited breeds for guard dogs in real life, due to their amiable disposition and poor athletic ability.

A pack of these (usually three or more, and usually feral dogs) is standard issue for any scrapyard or vehicle impound lot, while any Supervillain Lair worth its salt will have them chained up and ready for the Big Bad to snarl "release the hounds".

Nowadays, the trope is mostly found in cartoons. They occasionally subvert it, showing the dog is a big softie and/or coward if confronted, with the Aesop that a bully's bark is always worse than his bite. However, if its cowardice shows its Undying Loyalty to the villains, the dog is a Dirty Coward instead.

See also Right-Hand Attack Dog, Beware of Vicious Dog, Villain Holds the Leash and Hellhound (if a Hellhound is also an Angry Guard Dog... be very, very afraid).

Contrast Big Friendly Dog (although this Trope can overlap when their friend is the one they're guarding), Incompetent Guard Animal, They Have the Scent!, and Jealous Pet. Neutralized by Scare the Dog. Sometimes named Fluffy. Subtrope of Animal Occupation Stereotypes.

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Other examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Berserk, Guts is represented as a massive, black, three-legged dog within Casca's inner mental state, fiercely defending the last remnants of her sanity that is locked within a metal coffin.
  • Eyeshield 21: Cerberus tends to maul anyone getting close to him, a bonus in the manga reveals that he isn't a pet though: it's a really aggressive wild dog that hangs around Hiruma to get food.
  • Ginga Densetsu Weed: In the first episode (and first part of the manga), GB encounters a guard dog at the very beginning of the series. He and his friend Sasuke run afoul of the guard dog later when he catches them catching ducks on his territory, and he nearly kills Sasuke before Weed comes to his rescue. He also briefly fights Weed and GB as well before Smith arrives and scares him into hiding.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: One episode has Batou get cornered by a pack of angry robot guard dogs. He's forced to beat a hasty retreat before he can hack their systems and make them think he's their owner.
  • Pet Shop from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders is, for all intents and purposes, an Angry Guard Falcon for Dio.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Thanks to childhood naivete, a young(er) Negi believed that getting in trouble will make his superhero-like Disappeared Dad appear. So one of the things he did was cut the leash of a snarling bulldog and have it chase him.
  • One-Punch Man:
    • On the heroes' side, this is the gimmick of Watchdog Man. Specifically, he's a hero who dresses in a white dog suit and often acts as a dog... Complete with slaughtering any monster stupid enough to appear in the city he has declared his territory. This has the downside that he won't chase enemies out of the city limit, as Garou found out when he thought he could take him on and survived only because he decided to run and managed to cross the city limit, at which point Watchdog Man let him go.
    • On the monsters' side, this is the purpose of Overgrown Rover of the Monster Association, being their guard dog that patrols their base for any intruders. The catch is that Rover is a massive muscled beast with six eyes, massive jaws, enough firepower to blast through the entire underground base and cause earthquakes, tough enough to tank attacks from everyone that isn't Saitama or Awakened Garou, and is considered a Dragon-class level Monster (as in, the same rank as the strongest members of the Monster Association).
  • In the Pokémon: The Series mini movie "Pikachu and Pichu" and in some other specials, one of the Pichu brothers' enemies is a Houndour. Yes, a Houndour. And that Houndour chases the Pichu brothers many times, and sometimes gets flattened by a Snorlax. One time, the Houndour ended up beating up Meowth after Meowth stepped on the Houndour's head.
    • Houndour in general tend be given this sort of personality in the anime, usually if it's a Lower-Deck Episode focusing on the Pokémon rather than the humans.
  • 3×3 Eyes act II: while in China, Pai is introduced to the "monstrous" dog of an antiquity store owner: said dog is a massive spotted beast almost as big as Pai and can eat canned food without bothering to have it extracted from the metal tin first. Yakumo uses it to threaten Zhou Gui (who, keep in mind, is a demon) and later proves strong enough to injure the demoness Lang Bao Bao with his bites (though he's killed after landing the first bite).
  • In one chapter of Sgt. Frog, the Hinata family goes to visit Aki's mother, and the Keronians tag along. At one point Keroro goes to retrieve a softball that's landed next to a sleeping dog (who's apparently named "The Reaper"). Before Fuyuki can warn Keroro that dogs in rural communities aren't usually kept on leashes, Keroro finds this out the hard way and gets chased across the countryside.

    Comic Books 
  • Krypto the Superdog in one incarnation. The temperament of an Angry Guard Dog and the powers of Superman = pain.
  • In the Italian Funny Animals comic Lupo Alberto (Alberto the Wolf), the Mackenzie Farm is defended by an ill-tempered sheepdog named Moses. Besides serving as the farm's manager and most consistent voice of authority, he also protects it from intrusions (chiefly those of the titular Alberto when he tries to sneak in to woo his girlfriend Marta-or, more rarely, to eat the chicken) with liberal use of baseball bats, shotguns and bear traps.
  • Brazilian comic Monica's Gang has Rúfius, "the angriest dog in the world". A story shows part of his motivation are people who spell his name wrong.
  • Red Robin ends up having to deal with some genetically enhanced attack dogs and their metahuman owner since they're the night guards of a museum in Germany he went to "borrow" some evidence from and his attempt to sneak away was ruined by help from the League of Assassins, meaning he had to try and save the lives of the particularly vicious museum guards.
  • Spider-Man: Caryn Earle, Peter Parker's attractive neighbor and Romantic False Lead (in the past when Mary Jane returned to Los Angeles) had a bulldog that really don't like Peter.

    Fan Works 
  • The Bolt Chronicles:
    • In "The Survivor," Petey is vigorously protective of Mittens and his master Darnell when Jack threatens them. He's otherwise shown to be very personable and friendly.
    • In "The Mall," Bolt barks furiously to scare off the manager of Spender's Gifts when the latter tries to capture the lost Mittens and collect the reward for her return.
    • In "The Marching Song," Bolt's protective instincts and righteous anger are forcefully and poetically expressed.
  • The Calvin & Hobbes: The Series episode "Eggs for Calvin!" has Spike, presumably named after the Tom and Jerry character who fulfills a similar role.
  • The Smith-Rhodes-Stibbons family of Ankh-Morpork has a tradition of large family pets. Mum Johanna, an Assassin by profession and a zoologist by inclination, kept a unique pet cat in her rooms at the Assassins' Guild.note  She took two pet puppies into marriage with her. Two dogs which on our world would be Rhodesian Ridgebacks.In the fullness of time, two new pet puppies replaced them. Boerboels, this time. note . Both sets of dogs are gentle, loving and affectionate - and death on four paws to anyone threatening Johanna or her daughters. Read more in the Discworld of A.A. Pessimal.

    Films — Animation 
  • Played with in The Adventures of Tintin (2011) where Tintin is attacked by a giant rottweiler outside of Marlinspike hall who becomes docile and friendly as soon as Snowy loyally leaps out in front to defend Tintin. The dog continues to be comical and friendly throughout the rest of the film.
  • Napoleon and LaFayette from The Aristocats. They're a pair of unintelligent dogs who for some reason both hate Edgar. Their dialogue suggests that they attack anyone who comes close to their farm.
  • Over the Hedge subverts this: a big, scary-looking rottweiler by the name of Nugent is dangerous because he's a hyperactive Gentle Giant who just wants to play but doesn't know his own strength.
  • Up: Muntz has an entire team of them. Alpha stands out as the meanest and angriest, except when his voice modulator gets screwed up. Then he sounds Affably Evil.
  • The multi-headed dog in Yellow Submarine looks like it could make Cerberus cower and whimper. It turns out to be no match against the Beatles.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In 1994 Baker Street: Sherlock Holmes Returns, Booth has one on the grounds of his estate that catches Holmes the first time he breaks in. The second time, Zapper uses an ultrasonic projector to send the dog scurrying.
  • Played straight in Babe where Rex did not like Babe, though he would eventually come to respect and help him out. And the dogs that attacked Maa are portrayed as such. But subverted with Fly, who adopted Babe.
  • At the end of the first Beethoven movie, Dr. Varnick's two goons escape from the dogs chasing them for revenge by jumping over a fence towards a junkyard. Big mistake: turns out the junkyard is guarded by a small pack of very angry Dobermans, who proceed to maul them. This is a Brick Joke to the beginning of the movie, when a punk woman inspects Beethoven as a puppy and asks if he's going to be a good guard dog for her junkyard.
  • The Confirmation: Subverted, a woman who mistakes Walt for a burglar claims to have one, and they run when they hear barking, but really she's just playing a recording.
  • In Crooked House, the Leonides family keep two trained attack dogs on the property that Eustace is especially close to. They catch Charles when he is snooping around the treehouse and maul him slightly. Lady Edith claims this proves they like him, as they could easily have killed him.
  • In Cruella, Baroness Hellman keeps Dalmatians as guard dogs at her estate, which are responsible for Estella's mother's death
  • The Dark Knight: First bandits, then the Joker, sic angry dogs at Batman and even Bats has quite some trouble fending them off. They're big dogs however (Rottweilers), and in the second instance the Joker has probably made them even more vicious than they already were under the Chechen's ownership (feeding them human meat, among other things, though it seems likely that their dietary habits started with the Chechen given his introduction for them).
  • In Dark Night of the Scarecrow, Marylee is mauled by an angry guard dog when he sneaks into a garden to look at the fountain. This event is what sets the plot in motion.
  • In Date with an Angel, Jim and the angel get attacked by a dog, but she looks into its eyes and charms it into acting like a playful puppy. Unfortunately for Mr. Winston, the effect wears off after she leaves, and the dog bites his butt. Later, Mr. Winston runs into the dog again, and he goes Screw This, I'm Outta Here.
  • Don't Breathe: One of the two antagonists in the film is the Blind Man's vicious Rottweiler.
  • In Fantozzi (both book and movie adaptation) Fantozzi is invited to a ball in a villa, but has trouble with the countess' guard dog, a huge and menacing Great Dane called Friedman (Ivan the Terrible the 32nd in the movie) who threatens him and his friend and tries to bury Fantozzi alive in the garden. In the book he even waits for them outside the house, forcing them to stay longer than expected. In both media, it ends up chasing Fantozzi's car all the way home and laying siege to the parked car for an entire week, forcing Fantozzi to sussist on food delivered by his wife from the balcony using a basket on a rope.
  • In Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Principal Rooney discovers to his misfortune that the Buellers' family pet is a large Rottweiler.
  • Fletch has the title character encounter one of these while snooping around at a construction site. Quick thinking enables him to distract it by yelling, "Look, defenseless babies!"
  • The family dog in the Dutch Flodder movies constantly attacks newspaper boys and many other people.
  • In The Freakmaker, Prof. Nolter keeps a pack of angry Alsatian guard dogs on the grounds of his house to discourage nosy visitors.
  • Green Room: The pit bulls owned by Clark that Darcy sets on the band resulting in Sam being horribly mauled to death.
  • in Headhunters, Clas brings a vicious dog with him (a Dogo Argentino. This breed is considered dangerous and banned in Norway) when he goes hunting Roger at the cabin. Roger ends up getting in a fight with the dog in the barn.
  • The Highwaymen. Frank Hamer has a guard boar! Though his wife is none too fond of it.
  • The Kentucky Fried Movie. While sneaking around Dr. Klahn's headquarters Loo encounters a guard dog. After it barks at him he gives it a Dope Slap for not being convincing.
  • Lady on a Train: While trying to sneak on to the Waring estate, Nikki is chased by the estate's guard dogs and winds up trapped atop the fence while trying to escape them.
  • Lethal Weapon 3 deconstructs the trope as Martin Riggs placates a rottweiler guard dog with dog biscuits, then de facto adopts him.
  • In The Lost Boys, Thorn appears friendly when he's accompanied by his human, but turns into this trope when anyone tries to trespass in his yard. He's been trained to be this way.
  • Never Cry Werewolf: Jared has a vicious dog that is just as mean as he is and serves as the secondary antagonist. It turns out to be a demon dog disguised as a real dog.
  • The Night Flier: After Dees investigates a murder site, he's menaced by an angry black dog (implied to be the vampire in disguise) before it seems to teleport back to the spot where it was sitting.
  • In the 1980s Henry Winkler movie Night Shift, the rather nebbish and timid main character is shown to be frequently tormented by a neighbor's dog who relentlessly pursues him through the apartment complex where he lives, barking furiously. It's a sign of Character Development towards the end when he finally gets fed up and bellows "Go home!" as it's bounding towards him... and it slinks away with its tail between its legs.
  • In Nobody's Fool, Carl has one of these guarding his snowblower. However, after Sully drugs the dog with some painkillers (which he slips into some hamburger), he becomes much more docile.
  • In P2, the heroine is attacked and bloodied up by her kidnapper's Rottweiler, until she manages to kill it with a tire iron.
  • Raising Arizona: While fleeing from police, Hi stumbles into the backyard of a home guarded by a dog on a leash. It lunges at him, but its leash is just short enough that it snaps at air a few inches from Hi's face.
  • In The Ref, after Gus inadvertently trips the alarm of the house he's trying to rob, he ends up having to deal with one of these (named "Cannibal", of course).
  • In Run for the Sun, Browne and Von Andre keep a pack of savage dobermans in the their compound to stop their 'guests' from trying to escape.
  • Sallah Shabati: Sallah, scrounging for money, sees an ad for a lost dog. He brings the worried couple an angry guard dog that is the wrong color, the wrong sex, and at least three times too large, and then he demands a reward.
  • The Sandlot has a subversion in "The Beast," a Mastiff that is shown to have a collection of balls that kids have knocked into its domain and given up for lost. A good chunk of the movie revolves around the kids various efforts to get back a ball signed by Babe Ruth that went into its yard. It turns out at the end of the movie that The Beast is actually a nice dog. He just doesn't like to give up stuff that it finds in the yard unless his owner tells him to.
  • In Satan's Cheerleaders, Sheriff Bubb has a pair of vicious guard dogs named Diablo and Lucifer who he uses to guard the cheerleaders he is hold prisoner for sacrifice. His wife later sends them to kill the cheerleaders.
  • In The Scarlet Claw, Judge Brissom lives as a recluse in a fortified house guard by an angry German shepherd.
  • In Sheitan, Crusty Caretaker Joseph has a vicious guard dog named Cerberus. The name is not ironic (or coincidental).
  • Clyburn has one as part of his arsenal to terrify the sorority sisters in Sisters of Death.
  • One appears in Stand by Me (and the original Stephen King novella The Body), though it turns out his fearsome reputation is somewhat overblown.
  • Talon Falls: The park employees keep a dog in the holding cell rooms. One prisoner says it's been trained to attack anyone who tries to escape.
  • In There Was a Little Girl, Julia's Evil Twin Mary is accompanied by an extremely aggressive and perpetually angry Rottweiler whom she uses to commit some of her murders, mauling the victims to death.
  • Tomorrowland: Frank has one — or so it seems. It turns out to be a very convincing hologram created with technology from Tomorrowland. Casey figures it out when she notices it has no shadow.
  • Sam faces two of the junkyard breeds in Transformers (2007), where they can rip their chains out of the concrete.
  • in The Tripper, Dylan keeps one that attacks Buzz and Cooper when they enter his cabin in search of evidence. Cooper can cannot bring himself to shoot it, and Buzz ends up locking it in a closet.

  • Older Than Feudalism: In Classical Mythology:
    • Cerberus is the three-headed guard dog of the Underworld, assigned to prevent the dead from leaving, as well as making sure living people don't try to slip into the Underworld to visit, or worse yet, rescue dead loved ones or dead prophets. It's always a big deal when someone like Orpheus, Hercules or Aeneus finds a way to get around him.
    • Orthus, Cerberus' lesser known two-headed brother. He's best known for being the guard and herd dog of the fabulous red cattle of the triple-bodied monster Geryon, and is, according to the poet Hesiod, the father of his siblings, by his mother Echidna, the Chimera, the Sphinx, the Hydra, and strangely, the Nemean Lion.
  • Garm the Hound of Hel from Norse Mythology, guards the gates of the underworld until Ragnarok.

  • A small-town, rural veterinarian is elected in a second capacity as the town sheriff. He gets a phone call from Farmer Johanssen at 2am. "You better come down to my property right away." The bleary man is getting dressed and asks in what capacity the farmer needs him — sheriff or veterinarian. "Both," says Farmer Johanssen. "A prowler tried to break into my barn and my hunting dog won't let go of him."

  • The Andromeda Strain mentioned a rather creepy version in passing: vicious guard dogs who had undergone laryngectomies, so they couldn't make any bark. You'd never hear them coming until they were already tearing your throat out.
  • The Boys from Brazil: The Wheelock family has about a dozen well-trained dobermans. They're trained to wait, guard, attack, and even kill on command if given certain words. However, even if you know the words, it doesn't matter because they won't obey anyone they haven't been trained to obey... as Josef Mengele found out the hard way.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Rogues in the House," Nabonidus has a guard dog that has been known to tear apart intruders.
  • In the Discworld novel Going Postal, when Moist von Lipwig is undergoing initiation into a secret society of postmen, part of the training is to get past some of these (a natural enemy of postmen everywhere). Concluding that they are Lipwigzers, a very popular guarding breed hailing from his hometown, he briefly dominates them by giving them commands in a stern voice. Played for Laughs after the dogs are led out, and Moist finds out they were whelped and raised in the city, so his commands in Uberwaldian should not have worked. Seems Moist is just that good of a Con Man.
  • In the Foundation prequel series novel "Foundation's Fear", when Hari and Dors are in the jungle, their minds trapped in chimpanzee bodies, Hari crosses the compound and encounters several genetically enhanced guard dogs who immediately attack upon seeing him (as a chimp).
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Fluffy is a gigantic three-headed dog who is guarding a trapdoor.
    • Marge Dursley breeds bulldogs, with a particular fondness for a vicious one named Ripper that has attacked Harry and once trapped him in a tree for being in the same yard as it.
  • In Andre Norton's Ice Crown, the dire hounds. Since their keeper is Imfray's friend, he, Roane, and Imfray's rescuers are hidden in a shed behind their pen.
  • In Baynard Kendrick's novels, blind detective Duncan Maclain has two dogs. One is a harmless seeing eye dog, the other an attack dog. Sometimes he switched them to fool a killer into betraying himself.
  • In his autobiography 'Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid' Bill Bryson describes his encounters with Dewey, a vengeful labrador 'about the size of a black bear' who stalked him on his paper round.
  • In Margin Play by Eric Plume, Amber encounters a Doberman that fits this trope at Thom Cullen's house. When it rushes her, she wallops it with a rolled up Wall Street Journal.
  • Max And The Midknights The Temple Of Time: When the Midknights get to the Brimstone Quarry where Mary's and Max's father is kept prisoner, they take note that it has no walls... because the perimeter is patrolled by Klunkhounds. Kevyn, having been magically turned into a cat by Millie earlier, is used as live bait to get the Klunkhounds' attention.
  • In the Action Prologue of Mindstar Rising by Peter F. Hamilton, Greg Mandel has to take out an ex-police Rotweiller with monolattice silicon fangs and implanted retinas. Which is nothing to the security at the Big Fancy House where Julia Evans lives, which is guarded by genetically-enhanced panthers!
  • A wolfhound intended to be sold as one of these makes a brief appearance in Mistborn. Vin punches his lights out and feeds him to her Kandra.
  • Nick Velvet: In "The Theft of the Overdue Library Book", Nick has to work out how Sandra Paris abducted someone from a men's room that had an angry guard dog outside its only exit.
  • Oryx and Crake: Wolvogs are dogs genetically engineered to be the ultimate guard dog. They look and, from a distance, act like dogs, but if you're so stupid as to approach them, they'll rip you to shreds.
  • In The Savannah Reid Mysteries, a dog named Beowulf. He only grudgingly allows Savannah to pass after she gives him some meat. When she tries this with Hitler, Satan, and Killer in Death by Chocolate, on the other hand, the three little dogs become Savannah's best friends.
  • Carcharoth from The Silmarillion is an angry guard wolf. In this case, though, it's not so much the getting in as the going out that turns out problematic.
  • The Rat Things from Snow Crash are actually dogs upgraded with cyborg parts to dissuade intruders even more effectively.
  • For Survivor Dogs, this is bound to happen in a series starring dogs. The main example is the Fierce Dogs pack, a pack consisting of Dobermans led by the bloodthirsty Blade. They're a group of ex-guard dogs who banded together after their owners fled during an earthquake. Even the White Sheep Storm, who escaped the pack as a puppy, is more aggressive and fight happy than the other dogs in the Wild Pack.
  • In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 novel Brothers of the Snake, the High Legislator has a fierce black guard dog. The Space Marine, however, manages to tame them with a whistle. He brings along one to help with the Dark Eldar.
  • Guard dogs (implied to be Dobermans or Rottweilers) appear at the prologue of Warrior Cats: A Dangerous Path, brought to a compound by humans to find the pyromaniacs who set the forest on fire in Rising Storm. They prey on pigeons and later cats, killing off several important cats and deforming Brightpaw. This makes the cats especially unsettled as they're usually the top predators in the forest.
  • Watership Down:
    • Richard Adams' Watership Down plays the trope straight and desperate. The hero rabbits consider calling dogs much like humans might consider using an atomic bomb in a war: it destroys their enemies, but at a heavy price. In this case, they are alerting the dog and the owning farmer that there is a rabbit warren near the farm. Considering the Efrafans are fighting to massacre the Watership Down warren, that was considered the lesser of two evils.
    • In another instance of this trope in the book, the Lapine tale "Rowsby Woof and the Fairy Wogdog" presents the titular Rowsby Woof as an obstacle between El-Ahrairah and the cabbages in a human's garden.
    • Watership Down certainly plays up the fear factor from a big angry guard dog. You think they're bad? Try them when you're just a little rabbit and you're a fraction of the size.
  • World of the Five Gods: The Xarre estate is guarded by mastiffs. Penric manages to use the Weirding Voice to get past them the first time.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Amazing Stories episode "Family Dog", after the dog twice fails to protect the house from burglars (he was ill the first time, got locked out by the burglars the second (, the father takes him to guard dog school. The father is unimpressed when he returns for him and the dog is as happy-go-lucky as ever. . . until the instructor snaps her fingers and the dog instantly turns into a snarling, barking beast. It pays off when the burglars return again, but works too well when he attacks the father (trying to get in after accidentally locking himself out).
  • Andor: During the night when Cassian sneaks into Bix's scrapyard, Pegla's two Corellian hounds chained there bark and growl viciously at the intruder pulling against their tethers trying to reach him.
  • The A-Team: In the episode "There's Always a Catch", the team encounters a ferociously barking Dobermann called Cutter while trying to buy replacement parts for the clients' boat. It's unknown whether he would have done anything more vicious because he's tied up, although the owner threatens to set him on them.
  • Dog the Bounty Hunter had a dog at the home of a bail jumper's family who dragged a truck tire it was chained to when trying to get at the team and had to be maced to make it back down.
  • The F.B.I.: In "All the Streets are Silent", a gang of heavily armed criminals are holed up inside a fenced-off motel. Two angry guard dogs prowl the yard and bark at anyone who comes close, making it impossible for the FBI to approach undetected.
  • Frasier: When Niles needs to sneak back into Maris' mansion after they separate he and Frasier are surprised to find she hasn't changed the locks or security code. As they try to leave a pair of guard dogs trap them inside. Niles tries to greet the dogs, assuming they'll recognise him as their former master, only to discover they're not the dogs he knows.
    Niles: Oh my god, she hasn't changed the locks! She changed the dogs!
  • Subverted on Hogan's Heroes. The camp's guard dogs love the P.O.W.s, and hate the guards and officers.
  • El internado: Las Cumbres: The titular boarding school has Caimán, the resident watchdog. The group of students plotting to run away plan to feed him a steak laced with sedatives so they can escape. Even sedated, the guard dog still detects them and barks so much that a frightened Adèle decides to turn back.
  • In It's Me or the Dog, Victory considers overly protective dogs to be counterproductive to home safety (as they're just as likely to menace harmless strangers, causing problems for the owners), so she re-trains these types of dogs to associate guests arriving with something good happening (i.e. delicious treats).
  • Al Mundy deals with them occasionally on It Takes a Thief (1968).
  • The protagonist of the short-lived series Lucan (who was raised by wolves) is forced to kill an attacking Doberman. The experience reduces him to tears.
  • MacGyver (1985): In "Good Knight, MacGyver", Morganna uses an angry guard dog (unconvincingly disguised as a demon) as part of her defences. Mac defeats it by MacGyvering up a dog whistle.
  • Magnum, P.I.: Robin Masters' estate, 'Robin's Nest', is occupied by two Doberman guard dogs, Zeus and Apollo. Interestingly, although Magnum is in charge of security for the estate, the dogs both belong to and answer to Higgins, not Magnum. They don't really like Magnum much.
  • Motive: In "Creeping Tom", when the police arrive at the scene of the crime, they find the Body of the Week is guaraded by an angry guard dog that barks at anyone who tries to approach the body. Later Angie realises that that while the dog barked at all the police, it did not bark when the intruder was in the house, meaning it was someone the dog knew and trusted.
  • Murder, She Wrote: The neighbour in "Angel of Death" owns an angry guard dog that barks at anyone who comes on his property. Its behaviour on the night of the murder provides Jessica with a vital clue.
  • Murdoch is attacked by one while investigating the ratting barn in the Murdoch Mysteries episode "Let Loose the Dogs".
  • Person of Interest: A neo-Nazi tries to use one to intimidate Reese. Reese explains that the dog only appears angry because it does not respect its current owner who does not know how to handle such a well trained animal properly. Reese, on the other hand worked with this type of guard dog before and knows the Dutch commands it was trained to obey. A few Dutch phrases later Reese has a new dog.
    • Though the dog only obeys commands in Dutch, he certainly understands certain words in English, like "walk", "leash", and "treats".
  • Pit Boss: Completely subverted by Hercules, Shorty's dog, who doesn't have a mean bone in his body. Same goes for most of the other pits.
  • Ditto Pit Bulls and Parolees, where even the pit breeds trained to fight dogs are very people-friendly.
  • One scene in Sons of Anarchy involves Juice and Tig trying to steal a truck from a locked compound. In order to subdue the Dobermann guarding the area, Juice is advised to drug the animal, which he does using crystal meth. Leading to a very cranky guard dog indeed.
  • Voyagers!: Bogg encounters a loudly barking German Shepherd while trying to get the gas for Lindbergh's flight.

  • In the Jim Croce song "Leroy Brown", Leroy is said to be "meaner than a junkyard dog".
  • C. W. McCall: "Classified" has the singer going out to a place owned by a man named Bob, who has a German Shepard named Frank. Frank's immediate reaction to the singer's arrival is to come out, grab onto his leg... and later when the singer's trying to leave in his "new" truck, the dog attacks him again and has to be beaten off with a crowbar. And even then he still won't leave the guy alone, even while he's trying to fix a sudden flat!

    Newspaper Comics 
  • The Angriest Dog in the World by David Lynch: "The dog who is so angry he cannot move. He cannot eat. He cannot sleep. He can just barely growl. Bound so tightly with tension and anger, he approaches the state of rigor mortis."
  • "Irish" Murphy's dogs in Footrot Flats: Tiger, Wolf and Creampuff.
  • Played with but generally averted in Mutts. The guard dog, while surly, rarely gets angry enough to threaten anyone. He's just as likely to elicit sympathy from being tied up all the time.
  • Inverted in Peanuts where Snoopy was terrorized by "World War II", the cat next door. Occasionally Snoopy himself would be put in this role. Performance ranged from lackluster (falling asleep while guarding Peppermint Patty) to metaphysical ('You try to warn them the world's gone mad ... ') to, and we're not kidding, More Dakka (how many guard dogs have ever mounted a machinegun to their house?!).

  • Junk Yard has Spike, who must be defeated with a toaster gun.
  • There's one inside the bank in Safe Cracker. He won't chase you out of the bank if you have a dog biscuit, however.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Subverted with the "Kennel from Hell" match during WWE's Unforgiven 1999. The idea was a steel cage match inside Hell in a Cell, where the inner cage was surrounded by vicious Rottweilers. Turns out the dogs weren't so vicious, as they spent more time peeing and crapping on the floor and mating with each other than actually intimidating the wrestlers. The wrestlers were more in danger of slipping on the dogs' mess than being torn apart by them.

    Tabletop Games 


    Real Life 
  • Although most watch dogs are not true guard dogs, but are rather intended to alert the owner of any trespassers, this aggressive variant is not that rare with many a well-protected compound (whether civilian or military) or private home, especially gated properties.
    • There have also been an amount of even more aggressive examples of dogs being trained for outright attacking on a battlefield (an ancestor breed to modern-day Mastiffs, Molossus have been said to have been used for the purpose by the ancient Greeks and Romans), though the examples of them serving as a remotely noteworthy portion of one side of a battlefield's punch are very uncommon compared to cavalry, and are dwarfed by attack dogs used for sentry duty or sniff out hiding enemies...not to mention the dietary requirements of a large number of dogs was probably beyond most invading armies' logistical capabilities. Their use to attack on the battlefield likely more relied on the negative psychological effect of being hounded (no pun intended) by a large pack of vicious, snarling dogs given that a trained, shielded ancient warrior (let alone a modern one with a gun and bayonet) shouldn't have too much trouble fighting off a dog.
  • From the book The Truth About Self-Defense written by law enforcement training instructor Massad F. Ayoob:
    • WATCHDOGS ...A mobile, four-footed burglar alarm. [They] bark insistently and steadily when an entry is attempted, and ... [go] to the entry point to pinpoint it for you.
    • PROTECTION DOGS are animals with advanced obedience training. On your command, they will bark and lunge at an aggressor, snapping at him without actually biting him. Also upon your command, they will immediately sit or lie and fall silent. Their training is oriented strictly toward a deterrent show of force; if your attacker persists, the animal will have to fall back on its natural protective instinct and bite him. A properly trained protection dog will also perform all the functions of a watchdog.
    • ATTACK DOGS have been trained to sink their teeth into people on their master's command, or when they observe their master under assault. Once resistance from the suspect ceases, a true attack dog will let go of him. It will do the same on command, no matter how excitement-charged the atmosphere, if it has been properly trained and selected. Normally, the dog will only bite if given the proper command, or if the animal sees its owner or a family member under attack. The attack dog is at the maximum level of obedience training. After the master has ordered it to put a suspect on point, the dog can be called back, and even ordered to "make friends." It feels no personal animosity toward the person it is ordered to attack; it is a canine technician, doing a job on the orders of its human boss.
    • GUARD DOGS represent the deadliest level of canine training. These animals either walk with a sentry, or patrol alone in an enclosed space. Their function is to apprehend and neutralize any human intruder. They do not stop biting when the suspect stops resisting; they stop only when the human stops MOVING. They are likely to be trained to go for the throat or genitals. Guard dogs are trained to kill and maim. The only legitimate use of a guard dog is in wartime, or when guarding an area so sensitive that human intrusion could result in awesome public danger, such as a nuclear weapons facility.
      • To give an idea of how hard they can be to control, when some countries put their pilots through their equivalent of Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape training, they sometimes use both their military's guard/tracking dogs and the local Search And Rescue units SAR dogs, allowing them to both train the pilots in evasion and the SAR dogs in tracking. The SAR dogs are almost always allowed off leash to track, and will be happy when they find the pilot, bark to alert their handlers, and be extremely friendly towards their "prey". The military guard dogs are never let off leash for this training, and pilots are often told that, should they have to deal with an actual enemy's military dogs, often the only way to escape one that's found you is to let them bite your arm, lift your arm and the dog up (often rendering that arm useless afterwards), then kill the dog, sacrificing your arm for a chance at escape. And even if you manage that, the enemy soldiers will most likely be close by, have heard the dog, are now on their way to get you, you're down an arm, and the enemy unit on it's way probably contains the dog's handler, who isn't going to be happy that you killed their dog.
  • Shepherd dogs or, generally, livestock guard dogs are born and bred to be deadly guard dogs in the literal sense of the word - able to kill a wolf single-handedly, or, in a pack of 3-4 dogs, maul and drive away a brown bear. There are photos of Caucasian Shepherds or Turkish Kangals having torn away the throat of a wolf. They are emphatically not the same thing as their pet brothers, even if they are the same breed. A true shepherd dog is too dangerous, aggressive and uncontrollable to be sold to city people as a pet.
  • Some Muslim community consider dogs unclean, and instead of guard dogs, they keep guard geese. You may laugh, but geese are territorial, they make a lot of noise when a stranger comes near, and if pushed, can deliver quite a nasty peck. Different animal, but otherwise they function exactly the same.
  • The Ancient Greeks often used specifically bred molossoid dogs to guard their armies' camps, much to the sorrow of anyone trying to sneak up on them. This ultimately backfired on Pyrrhus of Epyrus, as the Romans, having heard of the fearsome guard dogs of the Greeks, made a point of stealing them when they razed his camp at Asculum, and while he won that battle at Maleventum the Romans had used the stolen dogs for breeding their own guard dogs, thwarting Pyrrhus' attempt at a night attack.
    • The Romans continued breeding their dogs, eventually obtaining the Canis Pugnax breed, a fearsome guard dog with black fur and often equipped with armored corsets that would jump out of nowhere and murder any fool trying to sneak on their camps during the night and even take part to battles while being a Big Friendly Dog outside of duty. In Italy their descendant breeds, the Cane Corso and Neapolitan Mastiff, are still bred for the reason they will be friendly with their families (and, with the Cane Corso, generally with anyone not hostile) while being excellent guard dogs.
    • The Spaniards and Portuguese inherited the custom during the conquest of America, using huge dogs, often from the Alano Español breed, to guard themselves from indigenous attacks and local wildlife, when not to assist during battles and skirmishes, during which they would wear spiked armor. Those beasties were reportedly strong enough to easily overpower jaguars, cougars, ocelots and alligators, and they sometimes learned to distinguish between native allies and enemies. After the wars, most of the surviving dogs in service ended up being re-purposed for hunting or guarding property, although a number of them had escaped or gone missing during the fights and became such a bane to the livestock that they had to be killed or captured by hunting parties.
  • A hangover from The Apartheid Era in South Africa is that guard dogs bred by white people to defend white homes may well still be selectively trained to go for black people they don't recognise. The fact black-on-white robbery and burglary has risen exponentially since 1994 indicates that while training a dog this way is officially illegal, it isn't going to end any time soon. And things like rottweilers, ridgebacks and boerboels are not small dogs.


Video Example(s):


Attack Dog

Alert, well-trained German Shepherds with lethal bites. Can sniff out enemy spies.

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Main / AngryGuardDog

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